Kudzu bug gets South Carolina field day

It’s not often that a particular pest causes enough problems to have its own field day.

Palmer pigweed and a few others in that pesky class are now joined by the kudzu bug.

A kudzu bug seminar and field tour will be held at the Edisto Agriculture Research and Education Center near Blackville, S.C., on Sept. 11, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The meeting is co-sponsored by the United Soybean Board, South Carolina Soybean Board and Clemson University and will feature scientists with Clemson University, the University of Georgia, North Carolina State University, the USDA and industry.

Included during the seminar and tour will be discussions on: Discovery and distribution of kudzu bug in the U.S., biology of the kudzu bug, bio-control potential, tour of soybean field plots, insecticide efficacy, yield component analysis in field cages, host plant resistance, recommendations for control in soybeans, and impact of maturity group, planting date and seeding rate on kudzu bugs in soybeans.

Since its arrival, most likely from Japan, in the fall of 2009, the kudzu bug or Megacopta cribraria, as it is more scientifically known, has spread widely across the Southeast and has been causing problems in soybeans this year.

When the pea-sized Asian import started showing up in commercial soybean fields early this spring, researchers got the first of several surprises from the kudzu bug.

In addition to having its own field day, there is now a kudzu bug website — http://www.KudzuBug.org.

Growers might not have much experience managing kudzu bugs, but they are getting plenty of support and information to help them make the right calls on these little critters.

Clemson Entomologist Jeremy Greene, who helped organize the Kudzu Bug Seminar and Field Tour in South Carolina, says the learning curve on these insects has been steep.

Unlike most insects common to the Southeast, or even the U.S., there was basically no information about kudzu bugs, so scientists have basically had to start from scratch in learning what problems the insects may cause and how to manage these problems, he notes.

Clearly the kudzu bug, called bean plataspid in most parts of the world, has drawn the attention of entomologists across the Southeast. The upcoming field day in South Carolina is one of several efforts by research and Extension entomologists from Florida to Virginia to get a better handle on this potentially damaging insect of crops in the Southeast.

To better plan the meeting, Clemson Entomologist Jeremy Greene asks that those planning to attend let him know via e-mail at greene4@clemson.edu or by calling the Edisto Agricultural Research and Extension Center at 803-284-3343.


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